Find out more about Septic Systems and Wells here.
Frequency of cleaning is determined by the size of the tank and the number of occupants. It is recommended that all tanks be cleaned every one and five years.
A septic pumping is not necessary for a septic evaluation; in fact, it adds no value to the evaluation itself. Pumping a tank prior to a septic evaluation prohibits us from doing a proper septic evaluation. Many clues that would indicate a troublesome or failing septic system are hidden when a tank is pumped. If a tank is over full or partially backing up, a pumping would remove any evidence of this. We also need to run water to the absorption area of the septic system. If the tank has just been pumped, we cannot do this as the water we run into the system will only collect in the septic tank and not overflow to the absorption area of the system. Part of our evaluation is to use a Sludge Judge and convey to you, the buyer, if the tank is currently due for cleaning. We suggest you ask the sellers to pump the tank if we find it is due for cleaning. If it is not due, you would be better off by using the seller’s money for other repairs or maintenance until the tank is in need of maintenance. Either way, we strongly recommend this pumping happen after our evaluation.
We take a look at the well casing and note any breaks, cracks or voids at the time of our sample to determine if there is an obvious source for the bacteria. There is a two-piece well cap with secure electrical conduit with this well, so we have no recommendations for repairs at this time. It’s possible that once the well casing is opened for the chlorination procedure that a void can be seen from inside the well casing, but not likely. Sometimes bacteria can find its way into a well from the ground water as a result of heavy rains. For this reason most health departments suggest to sample your well water every few years.
For the chlorination, the well casing is opened up and chlorine is introduced. We use a product that is in the form of time-released pellets. Then the water is ran through the home and back into the well for about 30 minutes. At this time all the cold water plumbing taps are ran in the house to get the chlorine in the plumbing lines of the house. After this the well should sit, virtually unused, for a period of at least 16 hours. After this the well is ready to have the chlorine ran out of it, so a second bacteria sample can be collected. We will leave directions for the homeowner if they wish to do their own run-off or bleeding of the well.
A low pH is considered to be a ‘secondary issue’. In other words, it doesn’t directly cause heath concerns, but it will deteriorate plumbing fixtures and appliances. It can also break down impurities in the plumbing like lead and copper, which would relate to health issues. The remediation for a low pH is an Acid neutralizer system which runs about $1,650. We do not install water conditioning, but we can refer you to somebody, if you need.
Sulfur is a result of at least one of these 3 issues. It is either a bad hot water heater, the laundry machine, or the well is collecting either sulfur or iron bacteria.
If the sulfur was a result of the well, then we would expect the smell to be at every faucet in the home. If it was caused by the hot water heater, then we would expect the odor to be present every hot water faucet in the house, including the laundry. The last possibility is that the laundry machine is collecting bacteria and the by product would be sulfur dioxide.
Try running an empty load with a healthy amount of bleach. The manufacturer may also have cleaning instructions posted online. I know that the new front loading washing machines are notorious for having to be cleaned so often.
If this doesn’t work, then I might suggest calling a plumber.
The answer to odor questions is that they are generally not associated with a septic issue. If the trap underneath a sink dries up from not being used it will allow odors in the home. We suggest running every sink in the house for a few seconds every other week to avoid these odors. In other cases, it may be a bad wax-ring seal around the toilet. If the odor is outside, it is usually coming from the vent pipe coming out of the roof, and normally in weather that has heavy air. The gases get pushed down versus escape up. Some companies offer to put a charcoal filter on the vent pipe to fix this problem.